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Air Pollution Credit-Trading

One Size Won't Fit All

Credit-trading proposals to allow polluting companies to swap entitlements to engage in a wide variety of potentially harmful activity – emitting air pollutants that contribute to acid rain, or including quantities of lead in gasoline, or releasing mercury into water systems, or releasing greenhouse gases – have become increasingly popular in public policy discussions.

CPR Member Scholars have taken a cautious view toward such credit-trading proposals. They argue that properly designed trading programs can be constructive additions to the regulatory toolkit, but that greater emphasis should be placed on design in order to ensure that trading programs promote and achieve serious and real improvements in environmental quality. CPR Member Scholars' commentary on emissions trading programs includes:

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